Prezi vs. PowerPoint- Which Should You Use?

If you are preparing for a presentation, chances are you have put some thought into what visual presentation software you are going to use. Unfortunately, there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to Prezi or PowerPoint.  While both have their fair share of pros and cons, it really comes down to your audience, your material, and your own personal preference.  Let’s take a closer look at these two programs, as it is important to understand the difference between each of them before deciding which one is right for you.

PowerPoint

PowerPoint is considered the standard ‘go-to’ software for presentations.  It is very user friendly and has been around for years.  In fact, most people have probably had some experience working with this software in school.  It is a great tool if you are looking to put together a simple, professional, and linear presentation.  Your presentation will have a clear beginning, advance through slides, and finally end with a conclusion.

Pros:

  • It is very simple to learn and most people have used it at some point.
  • It comes with pre-made slide layouts that allow you to easily change the font, color, and background.
  • You can add different transitions to make your presentation a little more interesting.
  • You can print handouts of all of your slides. This is especially helpful if you want your audience to be able to take notes or take the information home with them.
  • You can seamlessly insert hyperlinks that can be clicked on to open up webpages.

Cons

  • It is not free! If you want it on your home computer you will have to purchase Microsoft Office.
  • The graphics can be a bit dull and outdated. It can be somewhat monotonous, as many of the slides have been viewed before.
  • The linear slide format makes it difficult to go back and revisit previous information without fumbling though slides. This can be a challenge for those who like to jump around during their presentation.

Prezi

Prezi is sometimes viewed as the fancier version of PowerPoint, because it has all the bells and whistles.  It is a Flash-based program that begins with a blank canvas rather than a series of empty slides.  Prezi allows users to create non-linear presentations, which is helpful for people who like to jump around during their presentation.

Pros

  • Prezi has a zoom function, which allows you to open up your canvas and zoom in on specific information in a creative way. Users can easily access any information without having to fumble through slides.
  • It is free! It is web-based, meaning that you can access it from any computer that has Flash and an internet connection.
  • Images can be inserted in any direction, making for a more fun and creative visual.
  • You can easily insert videos, photos, or audio.
  • Because they are web-based, Prezi presentations can easily be embedded into blogs and webpages.
  • You can design a unique canvas that is creative and engaging.

Cons

  • The interface can seem a little more difficult, especially since most people are not as familiar with this program.
  • People sometimes complain that all of the animation and zooming within Prezi can make them dizzy. It can actually distract your audience from the presentation.
  • You cannot change the color schemes or font.
  • It can seem a bit more unprofessional.

That said, which one is best?  The answer to that question is entirely up to you.  While PowerPoint is often seen as out-of-date, it actually has the capability of delivering a very professional presentation.  Prezi is also great for those who want to step outside of the box and have a little more fun with their presentation.  It is important to note who your audience is and what your subject matter is before deciding which program is right for you.  At the end of the day, the most effective presentations come down to the presenter and the way in which they deliver the material.